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SNMMI 2013: Top three things you may have missed

by Carol Ko, Staff Writer | June 13, 2013
This year's SNMMI annual meeting
was held at the Vancouver Convention Center
An estimated 5,000 attendees convened for the 60th annual SNMMI conference — not a surprising showing considering the venue was held in sunny Vancouver amid a picturesque backdrop of trees, snow-peaked mountains, and stunning ocean views.

In between the scenic plane rides and nearby mountain hikes, meeting attendees also fit in some time to discuss and learn more about current hot topics in nuclear medicine. Here are some of the highlights that stood out to us from the show.

1. PET/MR: It didn't matter whether you were a skeptic or a true believer — PET/MR was being discussed by everyone during the convention. Adding more fuel to the fire were two new studies presented at the meeting that may show some possible clinical benefits of PET/MR.
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A team of researchers led by Sang Moo Lim, current director of the department of nuclear medicine at the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, found that PET and MR imaging used together could help predict how patients will respond to chemotherapy treatments, enabling doctors to apply more aggressive therapies that could extend patients' lives.

Another study showed that PET/MR scanners may be just as good or better than PET/CT scanners for imaging recurrent prostate cancer. Lead scientist Matthias Eiber and his team of researchers at TU Muenchen in Munich, Germany said that PET/MR found more cancers compared to PET/CT.

But Hugh Bettesworth, president of the software firm Mirada Imaging, disagrees with the notion that most of these scanners will see high adoption in the future. Naturally, Bettesworth claims Mirada's product can do the same thing without the expense of buying the hybrid machine. "You can just fuse these images using software — Mirada software," he said.

2. On the brain: It seemed like neurodegenerative imaging was there everywhere you looked — whether it was incorporated into the marketing language at the booths or prominently included in the numerous scientific poster sessions and educational presentations at the show.

Amyvid's U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and much anticipated decision by CMS to either reject or approve reimbursement for the drug has already made headlines, but other amyloid-binding tracers are currently in the process of being developed for approval and release as well. For example, Piramal Imaging presented four studies on the efficacy of its radiopharmaceutical, florabetaben (also known by its commercial name, Neuraceq), which is under review by the FDA and EMA.

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